Rakesh Jhunjhunwala: How Akasa Air infused energy in India’s aviation industry

Ace investor and founder of Akasa Air Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, today, died aged 62. He was admitted to Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai and was suffering from a disease for a long time. Recently Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-owned Akasa Air, India’s newest airline started its commercial flight operations from August 7, 2022. Akasa Air is a low cost airline and started its operations at a time when the Indian aviation industry is trying to regain the lost confidence after coronavirus. With increasing ATF affecting the ticket prices and multiple technical snags resulting in low customer interest in flying, Akasa Air brings a fresh energy with its brand new aircrafts, curated menu and cabin crew dress. Also, India got a new airline in the form of the Akasa Air after more than a decade. We decode what exactly is Akasa Air and what new does it bring to the table?

Akasa Air operated its maiden flight on Mumbai-Ahmedabad route on August 7, followed by operations to Bengaluru and Kochi from August 13. Akasa Air will operate 24 weekly flights connecting these locations and apart from these 4 locations, Akasa Air recently announced Chennai as the fifth destination in its network and will commence daily flights between Chennai and Mumbai from September 15, 2022. In addition to this, the airline has also added a new route between Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, which will commence from August 23, 2022. Akasa Air had also announced its daily direct flights between Bengaluru and Mumbai starting August 19, 2022. 

Akasa Air unveiled the first look of its airline crew uniform a few days ago, becoming the first Indian airline to introduce custom trousers, jackets, and sneakers for its in-flight crew. The fabric for the trouser and jacket has been specially designed for Akasa Air, using recycled polyester fabric made from pet bottle plastic salvaged from marine waste. The uniform fit focuses on providing the most stretch possible to ensure employees’ comfort during their hectic flight schedules.

The Café Akasa is serving a wide choice fusion meal, farm-inspired and plant-based offerings, varied menu options like pasta, Vietnamese rice rolls, hot chocolate and a year-round festival menu inspired by Indian cuisines and celebrations. Akasa Air’s packaging of perishable meals is ethically sourced from sustainably grown crops. Here’s an example of some of the menu items on their flights:

Middle Eastern Cuisine – Falafel platter

Vietnamese Cuisine – Rice paper roll

Continental – Bagels, Burgers and Sandwiches

Indian – Kathi Roll (Veg+ Non Veg)

Salads – Insta friendly Salad

Desserts – Pie, Cakes and Puddings

Akasa Air: Code

Akasa Air received its code from DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) and will be called ‘QP’. Akasa Air is the newest airline in India, unlike Jet Airways that will start India operations again with 9W code.

Akasa Air ordered 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft at the Dubai Air Show last year, with the first 18 scheduled to arrive by March 2023 and the remaining 54 scheduled to arrive during the ensuing four years. The airline recently welcomed its first 737 MAX at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi from Boeing’s Seattle based facility. Earlier Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer mentioned that Airbus is in conversation with Akasa for an aircraft procurement deal.

Akasa Air: Livery

Aksa Air wears bright colours on its Boeing 737 Max planes, which makes it stand apart at airports across India. The Akasa Air planes get Orange and Purple coloured livery, a new for the Indian market. 

Akasa Air: Founders

Akasa Air is backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who is the co-founder of the newest airline and owns 40% of the company. Ex-Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube will be the CEO of Akasa Air with a 15 per cent stake. The brand is also looking to hire other industry leaders at the top spot before beginning of the operations.

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